Take a Moment to Analyze Your Goals and Set Some New Ones



Setting goals is important. It helps you move forward doing the work God has planned for you. Ask God to help you set good goals. He knows what he'd like you to do and who he'd like you to do it with, but you have to work out many of the details yourself. You have to take the steps and put his ideas into action. Taking action is the outward working of your inward faith. 

But your goals can be problematic if they aren't rooted right.
First, I'd suggest getting to know yourself well. Then you have a groundwork from which to set good and realistic goals. 

Perhaps include these questions to get to know yourself:

1. What is my current energy level? Will my new goals fit with my energy level? What steps can I take to improve my energy level?

Personally, I sometimes think I should sign up to be a helper to seniors. But I know I would be wiped out after four hours of this type of activity. I have trouble doing my own house and yard work. So, for now, I won't apply to do that. But I will pray for God to restore my energy. 

2. What is my sleep schedule? Will my new goals fit into my current schedule? Should a first goal be to change my schedule?

I've had to change my sleep schedule so that I can accomplish the goal of getting to a gym class I love. I didn't join until I'd made subtle changes. 

3. Where am I needed to serve my family at present? Will new goals overload me or leave other things undone?

Joining my gym actually helped me with my chores as I tend to run to the grocery store, gas up, or do other errands right after gym class. 

4. What are my passions? Will I lose interest in the new goals quickly? For instance, I sometimes like to volunteer here and there, but I often find my mind wandering to other interests I'd rather be doing. Can I commit to something I'm really not interested in?

Sometimes the only way to find out if a goal is right for you is to try it. 

5. Am I strong enough to say no even to good things and not have a guilty conscience? Am I willing to change my goals to fit in something new God might be prompting me to do?

This ability to say no often takes practice. It also takes wisdom.

Next, consider the root or motive for setting your goals. For instance, is it your desire to include something new due to someone else's urging, or is it the result of a prompting from God? 

Other people are quick to make suggestions, but they base them on their own worldview. Do you and don't compare yourself to others. Even if your hairdresser, doctor, or dentist suggests something, the choice to proceed or not is up to you.

A Personal Example

I've joined a gym of gym rats. They are eager to encourage members to workout 5 or even 6 days a week and have contests to keep you going. 

I have chosen, though, to limit myself. I find, one workout gobbles up my day. I can't imagine doing that daily. I choose to live in balance that works for me.

Sometimes, the next day my body aches from the workout. I've decided it is often better for me personally to let my body recover. No matter how compelling the voices at the gym are, I have resolved to do what works for me, my body, and my responsibilities. 

How about you? Is it time to set some new goals for yourself?


Elusive Life Purpose


Years ago, I felt stuck. It was then I went on a journey to figure out how to find my calling in life.  I recall looking online for information on several diverse topics. 

A topic I looked up was that of life purpose. At the time, I found a few articles by secular gurus. These were the type of individuals with large coaching practices and who did speaking engagements. 

Today, you can read multiple versions of the same thing. Tips for finding your life purpose are abundant. 

MILLIONS ARE SEARCHING FOR LIFE PURPOSE

What I do know is many people are searching for greater life purpose. They want to find a deeper meaning for their existence. 

Christian women look for it life purpose as much as women of other faiths or no faith do. 

As a Christian woman, I struggled with feeling stuck. I felt I served a big God that could move mountains. I regularly told Him I was available. I cried for doors to open. I craved a calling that would enable me to be a good wife and mom and do something meaningful. I tried things that failed miserably.

For a time I thought I'd found that meaning. Our church had opened the way to have a care cupboard for pregnant women in need. I got to set it up. And then God had my husband and I move away from it. The new city had nothing similar on the go and I floundered. 

I didn't understand why God didn't seem to open doors that would give my life a feeling of purpose. 

Then I fell into an opportunity to have Christian Life Coaching certification. God had prepared me by having me tune into a TV show that showed women life coaching other women. It was the first time I had heard of such a profession. I remember saying, "It's a good thing, but it would be more powerful if God was included." 

Soon after saying that, I was connected with a Christian life coaching program. My socks were knocked off, so to speak. I could hardly believe it. I thought I'd found my life purpose. 

The problem came when trying to find the women I was meant to help. It's a big jump for a woman to pay out of pocket for life coaching that is new to her. 

Though I eventually did coach women from all over North America by telephone, women in Canada had never heard of such. So I was trying to start my practice in isolation. I craved a local friend who might support me. I never found her. 

I started this blog and eventually decided to no longer take one-on-one clients. Instead, I would continue to write this blog and begin to write downloadable books. I rarely meet the people who purchase my books or who read this blog. I write for an invisible crowd. 

MY LIFE PURPOSE 

My life purpose includes using my passions to make the world a better place. It also includes helping women walk through their life journeys looking to God for help. 

I don't feel I do that much in person and therein lies a gap. I guess, ultimately, my mission is online virtual ministry. I only know if my efforts are bearing fruit when women comment, email me, purchase a book, or when I see ongoing stats that prove someone has visited this blog. 

I've come to the conclusion that most women who abide with Christ are right where He wants them. While we think our life should look different, while we might wish for a bigger platform or to earn more money from fulfilling our purpose, it often doesn't work that way. 

Sometimes our best work for God is done behind a computer screen. Sometimes our purpose is found in making a house a home, helping an elderly person do what they need to do, taking care of farm animals or pets, creating art for others to enjoy, coaching a sports team, teaching a class, being a listening ear, and so forth. Many of these jobs won't lead to making a million dollars, nor will the person doing them be thanked sufficiently. 

Whatever you do, do it all for the Glory of God and you will be living your purpose. 


















Live in the Moment



Much of life has been about planning and anticipation until now. You want to raise good kids. You anticipate their needs. You hope they will choose higher education and that they'll choose something nearby. 

You anticipate your own future and what you'll spend your time doing. Sometimes, you scurry to make something happen. With the way the world is going, you might be tempted to worry about the future.

but Dr. Joe Luciani, a psychologist, says the future doesn't exist so it's a waste of time living in a state of worrying about the future. Life is about the addition of moments you live out each day. The steps you take today determine your future which quickly becomes your past. 

In some ways he's right. I see a bright light at the end of my driveway in the future, but if my husband and I don't take steps to install it today, it won't be there to enjoy tomorrow. 

Each day has multiple opportunities that will bring about the future you might envision. You influence your childrens' decisions, for instance, by comments you make or school tours you take. 

Living in today will help you bring balance into your life. 

This morning, I walked about my back yard at 7:30 am. The dog had gotten me up. I do this walk with the dog and cat almost daily. It might seem cold and repelling to some, but I find it refreshing. My lungs clear. My muscles unstiffen. 

While walking this morning, the frost was still on the perennials. They glistened in the sun. It was a photo opportunity, but I'd have to simply photograph it in my mind.

So how will you spend today? What will you accomplish? What joy can you see in today? What is God showing you to do? Have you asked God how he wants you to spend today? 

Empty Nest? Child off to School?



I'm keenly aware this time of year there are many midlife moms who've just sent their children off to college or university. I know there are women experiencing new feelings for the first time. 

One blog post can't possibly list all the emotions a nest-emptying mom might feel. Bear with me. 

If you're in this position, you might feel grief. You might also feel relief. You might wallow between the two. Some days the grief comes in a passing thought. Other days it is profound. 

Midlife Empty Nest Grief 

Let me address this idea of empty nest grief for a moment. First, it's okay to feel the feelings of grief. It's necessary if you're to move forward. 

As a mom, I had moments missing my children as they were when they were young. It's like they vanished. I might have spent a full day crying over that idea. 

Another day, I realized my grief was over my own role changing. I loved being a fulltime mom and felt that role was being ripped away. 

One Christmas, when the children had returned to their student housing, I was left to put away Christmas tree decorations. As I did, my emotions plunged. I wept over memories of Christmases past. I felt like life as we'd known it had died. It's an awful feeling. I don't wish it on any woman. 

Feel the Feelings

As I've said, it's okay to feel the feelings. It's okay to express them to a trusted friend too. It's okay to journal about them. But I also suggest, after a time, we change the topic. 

We can change our thoughts. Staying in grief is not the ideal. If we don't change the thoughts, we may end up depressed.

Stuck

You might feel stuck though, unable to focus on something new. Nothing else might feel as fulfilling. 

You might feel as though part of you has died--the part that used to get excited about life. 

You might feel unable to see any new dreams ahead of you. You might not be able to put your finger on one new thing to get excited about. 

If you feel this way, let me assure you, this is a passing phase. In time, with the right help, you will feel a sense of purpose again. 

Go on a Purpose Hunt 

I suggest you go on a purpose hunt. I did that. Interestingly, it was while prayerfully flipping through winter magazines that I felt a new spark of life. Maybe that would work for you too. 

I had sat at my art table while in my grief. Next, I spotted a pile of magazines to look through to decide which to toss. 

There in the pages of a a local home goods magazine were sparkly Christmas decorations. The beautiful designs and bright colours drew me in. In that moment, I discovered I needed to experience more beauty in my life.

I'm not sure exactly how to describe this epiphany, but I knew looking at beautiful things--whether a bouquet of flowers, an art piece, a photograph, or a sparkly necklace--made me gasp with delight. It was that delight I needed more of in my life. 

This epiphany was the seed that led to my writing Identify Your Top Five Essential Passions and Identify What's Next in Midlife available on Amazon.


Why so Many Mixed Feelings?

Let me also touch on another aspect of the phase you're in. Your children will likely return home for weekends and special holidays. Then, instantly, though you might have been feeling the first bits of excitement of having an empty nest, you are flung back into your role as mom. Your children might expect things as they were. 

Though you and your spouse may no longer set a dinner table and prefer lighter meals, your children might expect the dinner table to be set and full meals be made for them. Old habits return.

So you are put in a situation of your role being flipped and flopped. You no sooner take steps forward and you are thrown back into your old life again. 

Another scenario is your child might shock you by saying he or she wants to spend special holidays, birthdays, and the like, elsewhere with friends. 

When that happens, you might feel rejected. You sense them pulling away. You have an inkling everything is changing. It's your choice to either be flexible or let your emotions demolish you. I suggest you try to be flexible. 

A Truth You Might Want to Know

Every parent wants their child to make new friends and thrive. My son is an introvert so his experience was much different, but my daughter was becoming a social butterfly during her years at university. 

Much later, I finally saw a video of her and her friends at school and even later was able to see her Facebook photo collection. My first reaction was "Who in the world has this many friends?" 

Seeing these two things was necessary and I wish I'd seen them earlier in my nest-emptying period. You see, I'd conjured a story that she was but away at school--studying. In my story, she would graduate and return home and life would resume as it was. 

But that story was pure fiction. She chose a job out of town. There would be no return home. 

You see, all this time, my daughter had moved on with her life. She'd made huge social changes. Life at home with mom and dad no longer fit her identity. I didn't grasp that until I saw her videos and photos. When I did, I suddenly saw the huge gap. She had moved on with building her life. Rapidly. But I hadn't. I didn't get the memo.

I'm not to be blamed though. Every time she did return home for an overnight, she validated my story. I was flung back into mothering mode. I didn't sense the alarm bell that it was past due time for me to move forward. 

Now that I've taken some steps, I've learned it's harder for midlife moms to recreate their life than it is for a young student to recreate hers. My moving on would take longer. Much longer. 

Letting Go

So it is a process of letting go. See my blog post about such here.  

A common life coaching question is: What is it time to let go of? What is it time to shed?

I have a relationship with God that is like breathing. We talk to each other all day long. So I asked him what he wanted me to let go of. I sensed him say that he was having me shed all that was related to me being a mother. He pointed out a few things that meant. One was worry about my kids. Another was wanting to control my kids. A third was a desire or propensity to step into my children's lives as I used to. 

A counsellor I worked with gave me permission to let my son be in charge of his own schedule. To stop getting upset when he'd be home and up until 3 am. Once I practiced ignoring his choices, I felt great relief. 

All this shedding is helping me feel independent again.  And it's good for my children for me to back off. 

I'd be happy to hear your comments. Feel free to leave one below. 



Do Your Best to Act Loving

Love Notes by Rosalie Garde see more here: https://www.instagram.com/rosaliegarde/?hl=en

HOW LOVING ARE YOU? 

Have you realized that being loving is not often our default way of living? Being sour, complaining, worrying is easier. Often, it takes work to be loving. It takes awareness. Acting in loving ways is a choice. Thinking loving thoughts is a choice. 

How often are you impatient? How frequently do you find yourself envying someone else? Maybe it's their photos on Facebook? There's always someone prettier, that dresses better, that has more clients, and so on. It's easy to become envious.

Do you boast? Those of us on Facebook often boast a little. We are proud of our kids and our accomplishments. We like to share our wins. But there needs to be balance. We can ensure our boasting is kind and for the right reasons--maybe to applaud someone else or to use our experience to help motivate someone else--not to brag or make ourselves look important. 

How often do you criticize others? Do you put your own needs ahead of someone else's? Do you have to be the decision maker in your relationship or are you willing to let your significant other make a decision without your interference? 

Have you become angry lately? Do you fly off the handle? Do you  keep a record of who in your workplace or home isn't carrying their weight? Does your tally sheet make you want to gain revenge? 

I am writing about love in one of my upcoming books and was really shocked at how many unloving behaviours I saw in myself recently when I studied the verse below. Here is how the Bible tells us to act. Do you measure up?

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 New International Version (NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Build a Life of Faith and Trust in God


Is. 55:8-9  "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Most of us crave to hear from God, but I get concerned when we get our focus wrong. 

I'm concerned when pastors or worship teams I see on TV sometimes are seemingly "summonsing" God down from heaven as though they want something to happen in a puff of smoke. They want to "feel" God. Sometimes they'll say, "I feel that" as they jerk forward. 

But is this the call of God upon us? Is this what he tells us to crave?

We Already HAVE the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is already in the inner being of every believer. He is ALREADY present. He continues to counsel, help, convict, rebuke, and lead us whether we feel him or not.

It would make more sense for those folk to pray for God to grant them more patience, wisdom, insight, love, peace, and trust than to expect some type of radical movement in their midst. (No one needs gold teeth!)

The Power of an Epiphany

We crave God and we crave to hear from him. Having epiphanies is exciting. 

An epiphany is simply an a-ha moment or a time when our eyes are opened to something. I get excited about epiphanies. It means God has given me clarity about something. 

I love it when he gives me a Bible verse and then another speaker I listen to or article I read talks about the same verse in the same day! That's an epiphany. It strengthens my faith. 

(I talk about an epiphany he gave me in my book, Help Me God, I'm Wilting!)

So even I ask God for more epiphanies because they are exciting. But some days go by with no new epiphany. At a time like this, a woman can feel God is silent. 

When God Seems Silent

When God seems silent, those are times we rely on the foundation we've been building--of faith and trust. 

We merely need to look back at all the favour God has granted us to know he is working on our behalf. We merely need to look back at past epiphanies to regain a sense of peace.

Making faith and trust a foundation is the right thing to do. 

I urge you to record every event when you see God's hand working in something. Write it in a journal. Go back and read it to remind yourself of his power working in your circumstances. 



Give of Yourself, Let God Work Through You

Art by Rosalie Garde
No one has the corner on answers. No one can tell another person what it is they need to do. 

But God has always worked through people. He continues to work through people. When we bow our hearts to him and offer the little we have, he will use it. 

Sometimes our confidence wains. Mine does often. I write things he puts on my heart. I write about my personal epiphanies. I have no clue if they will really help another woman. I hope they do. 

You see, we are all put on this earth together to help each other. We may never know how much we help another. We simply have to have faith that our little portion is of value somehow somewhere. 

Luke 6:38 New International Version (NIV)

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Answer What's Next in Midlife with this Helpful Tool



After many days of working on content writing projects for a National client, I saw a window of time to put one of my midlife woman books into paperback. 

Over time, I've had requests from women who had bought the Kindle version of this book, Identify Your Top 5 Essential Passions and Answer What's Next? In Midlife, wanting it in print. I don't blame them. I saw it as a workbook to begin with which is always best in print so you can write in it. 

It's around $10 depending on where you live. I chose a price I might pay myself for an author whose subject matter I think might help me. After printing costs, etc. I will only personally receive a little over $3 for each sale.This is why this type of project is ministry. I spent umpteen hours writing it and the Createspace process cost another 30 hours or so of unpaid time. Hardly a way to grow rich.




Nevertheless, if you think this book might help you, go for it. 

I interact with midlife women nearly daily. Each has a different background, story, and life phase. What is common with many is they are looking for community and a project to get involved in that will help them feel significant. But many sense something is missing. 

I'm not going to say filling the gap is easy, but it IS important to stay in our own lane and to contemplate God's point of view. 

Many jump from one thing to another. They look into jobs, or join groups (like a writing group, though they've never had a passion to write, or an art group, though they never really enjoyed creating art--it's just what everyone is doing). 

My book points out that ultimately, greater peace is found when operating in the areas God has put in us. Some of us feel more alive in certain settings working on certain areas of creativity. 

An Example 

I'm not a singer or musician. I don't get into the worship at church like others do. It is not a passion for me. I don't seek out concerts of such like others might. Being immersed in worship music may be essential to some women's wellbeing. If they can identify that, they can make regular involvement in such part of their goal to add more depth and meaning to their life. 

I'm not a vegetable gardener. I don't get crazy over fresh-from-the-garden vegetables. My son recently planted his own garden. He is passionate about it. I, on the other hand, love to look at beautiful gardens. I have my own which I love, but I equally enjoy other gardens I don't have to work on. I don't know all the plant names, but enjoying such is an essential passion of mine--something I need in my life to feel alive. 

My sister moved from a home where she'd done immense perennial planting. She said it was time to lay it down. Well, upon a recent visit to her new home, I saw she has several new perennial gardens there. Obviously, it's an essential passion. 

This book is designed to help women identify their top five passions which will help them feel more focused.